How to Make Your Passwords Harder to Hack for Better Security

by | Oct 17, 2020 | 0 comments

Cybercriminals have it easy when it comes to hacking passwords. Why? Because people use simple and obvious names and numbers. 

A study by the National Cyber Security Center found that simply typing in ‘password’ allowed access to over 3.6 million accounts. However, that is far from the most common access gift. A staggering 23.2 million users have ‘123456’ as their password, and another 3.8 million use ‘qwerty’ (the first six letters on the top left of a standard keyboard) as their access code. Using favorite names, sports teams, bands, and fictional characters also exposed millions to hacking.

4MP’s Advice on Passwords:

Use three random words as a password, that should keep your accounts safe. Or, to be really safe, use a phrase that you will remember. For example, ‘to be or not to be ‘. A full 89% of internet users make online purchases, 39% on a weekly basis and less than half use a strong, separate password for their email accounts.

Another trick to creating passwords that are easy to remember, yet hard to hack, is to use a street name from your past — not a current one! Then the house number, then two letters representing the account. For example, “Bruckner1440FB!” for Facebook. “Bruckner1440TW!” for Twitter and so on. Always add a symbol.

Many email services like Gmail, Yahoo, etc. as well as the social networks, banks, and ecommerce sites offer 2-factor authentication. Where this is a tad time consuming and annoying, it does protect your accounts. They’ll text or email you a code to verify that it’s you.

Hackers obtained data on compromised passwords from global breaches and are in public domain, having been sold or shared by hackers in the dark web. Favorite names, sports teams, and musicians came up as hundreds of thousands of times among the top hacked passwords. Almost 500,000 accounts used the name ‘ashley’, while ‘michael’ was used over 425,000 times.

Rock bands were another weak spot. While ‘blink182‘ may seem like a strong gatekeeper word, over 285,000 people had it breached as a password. As for superheroes, ‘superman’ was the most popular with over 333,000 hacked accounts using it.

So, there you have it. Hacking passwords is easy. Use phrases instead of common words. Use three random words. And endeavor to change your passwords,at least, once quarterly.

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By Jim Lavorato

Jim Lavorato is the founder of 4M Performance which is designed to assist businesses to survive and thrive in these uncertain times. Jim launched an entertainment-related company in 1988. He was at the forefront in cinema technology and helped spearhead the movie industry's transition to digital presentation and distribution. He also co-founded the Arboreal Group, an environmental consultancy. He has published articles on the motion picture and media industries and is a contributing editor for ScreenTrade magazine and writes a blog "Cinema Mucho Gusto". He is a certified SCORE Mentor in the SCORE Greater Phoenix Chapter and lives in Scottsdale, AZ. Learn more about Jim in his "About" page.

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